Employers in the construction industry are regularly and increasingly vocal about the severe skills shortage and misalignment faced by the sector. To face the gap between VET students’ training and employers’ expectations, the modernisation of construction apprenticeships is crucial for the development of key skills and an improved employability of young construction workers. In this framework, it is essential to make construction training more flexible and effective though training trainers and mentors. This train-the-trainers scheme should focus on how to introduce new methods, digital tools, and innovative content in teaching practices and how to become more involved in the design of apprenticeships.
In the context of the ongoing digitalisation of the construction sector, the European Builders Confederation has engaged in an EU-funded project titled CONDAP with the objective to enhance the digital skills of mentors in construction apprenticeships. Funded by the Erasmus+ programme for the period 2018 – 2021, CONDAP also gathers the Greek creative learning solutions company Exelia, the Vilnius Builders Training Centre and the Polytechnic University of Valencia, under the lead of the UK cross-sector apprenticeships authority Instructus.
This partnership aims at ensuring that construction mentors’ technological skills and competences are up to highest standards. To enable workplace mentors to fully embrace and contribute to the improvement of the quality of apprenticeships through digital tools, the project will develop 4 axes: an analysis of the needs regarding mentors’ digital skills in the construction sector, the elaboration of a train-the-trainers curriculum, the creation of free and easy-to-access online methods and tools for construction mentors, and the validation of these tools thanks to pilot tests and information events.
EBC and its national members will play an important role in the development of the project. EBC will indeed lead the activities for the validation of the learning and digital outputs; moreover, it will facilitate the pilot testing of the CONDAP open online course for workplace mentors in the partnership countries, organise an information event in Brussels, co-draft the road-map for the systematic integration of CONDAP outcomes into VET, and later redact a Memorandum of cooperation to foster the upskilling of construction workplace mentors. In a nutshell, this project is expected to promote new technologies as drivers of improvement in work-based learning, and enable continuous professional support to mentors in order to obtain adequate construction apprenticeships and effectively trained apprentices in the framework of the digital revolution of the construction industry.
The project kick-off meeting took place in Kettering, UK, on 3-4 October, marking the start of CONDAP